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Advanced Lifespan Development

Perspectives in psychology and philosophy in general, are developed to help explain and shed light on various human behaviors that not only boggle and are difficult to understand. There are controversies that ensue and these also make interventions difficult at the same time. Bronfenbrenner’s ecological theory of development is not an exception. Though tending to posit a more comprehensive and less simplistic picture of the complications of life and human nature, the Biblical viewpoint however, at times clashes with some of the presuppositions of this perspective, and vice versa.

This paper attempts to critically assess in precis Uri’s theory and reflect them in view of the spiritual and/or Christian worldview and how they both traverse in some themes and clash in others. Uri Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Theory of development Introduction Many find the contemporary theory on child development as put forth by Uri Bronfenbrenner as relevant because it incorporates the whole system that basically surrounds the individual as emphasized in his terms as ecology, macro, micro, meso-, exo-, and chronosystems.

This is especially applicable to various counseling situations and it presupposes that crucial to a child’s development into personhood is his support structure or system that basically impact many of the aspects of his individual growth and development (Bronfenbrenner & Morris, 1998). This paper describes and explains the impact of Bronfenbrenner’s theoretical perspective on the work of counseling, culture and the biblical stance that the Bible may have on the theory.

As far as his theory is concerned, the exhaustive attempt to understand the child’s development rests on a collaborative effort of all the said ecological system. Implications to Counseling The impact of Bronfenbrenner’s theory is significantly felt within the counseling community even today. As a contemporary psychologist, Bronfenbrenner had the grasp of the enormity of the complex factors that influence a developing person. These factors and influences either stifle or enhance that person in his growth (Bronfenbrenner, 1973).

The complex and interactive manner in which these develop helps us understand why people have become as they and in the same manner implement interventions that incorporate the workings and functionality of the systems of this environment (Baltes et al, 1998). In counseling, the client is understood in these contexts and immense and exhaustive work is done to gather data in order to address most if not all issues that embrace the particular problems that a person or child may be facing. Specifically, it starts with the home, the school and then the community at large (Bronfenbrenner, 1979).

The activities, roles and relationships in each of the setting as mentioned are examined and related to the person or child’s overall and specific functioning. It presupposes as well that the person or child actively takes a role in response to the influences exerted on him/her (Plutchik, 1980). Implications to Culture Since the macrosystem embraces all of the cultural details or patterns, it is presumed that when upheld, Bronfenbrenner’s theory takes into consideration the inputs of people and systems and collectively must be addressed in the interventions (Bronfenbrenner, 1979).

Culture then is considered powerful and must be weighed as directly and indirectly molding the individual in all of his endeavors (Plutchik, 1980). It implies as well that culture must also change for the individual to be considered as an enhanced and better person. This was emphasized in what Dr. Bronfenbrenner observed as the “breakdown of the social system” which what was prevailing in the United States (Bronfenbrenner, 1979). Furthermore, this Bronfenbrenner resolved to do when he got involved in massive campaign for the US Head Start program which impacted millions of children (Plutchik, 1980).

Implications to a Biblical Worldview The biblical standpoint remains to be pursuing an entirely different perspective. It understands that this world continues to be in decay and no amount of educational reforms whatsoever will overturn the deterioration of society. The bible has foreseen this already for more than 2000 years prior to what civilization has become even decades later. John 12:47 echoes the words of Jesus Christ: “And if anyone hears My words and does not believe, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world” (NKJV).

If the world is in good condition and will become in good condition then why did Jesus say He was to “save the world? ” This only implies the sad state of human existence. 1 Corinthians echoes Paul’s words when he said 7:31b “. . . For the form of this world is passing away” as well as that of 1 John 2:17 which clearly reinforces this notion: “And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever” (NKJV). Conclusion The biblical standpoint may be quite antagonistic to various notions of the theorist, in this case, Bronfenbrenner’s viewpoint.

The ultimate decision for any Christian who considers these seemingly legitimate perspectives will be to make a choice of what directions to take and the actions to pursue.

References

Atkinson, R. L. , R. C. Atkinson, E. E. Smith, D. J. Bem, and S. Nolen-Hoeksema. 1993. Introduction to Psychology, 13th Ed. New York: Harcourt College Publishers. Baltes, P. B. , Lindenberger, U. , & Staudinger, U. M. 1998. Life-span theory in developmental psychology. In W. Damon, & R. M. Lerner (Eds. ), Handbook of child psychology: Vol. 1.Theoretical models of human development (pp. 1029- 1144). New York: Wiley. Bernstein, D. A. , E. J. Roy, T. K. Srull, and C. D. Wickens,. 1991. Psychology. New Jersey: Houghton Mifflin Company. Bronfenbrenner, Uri. & Morris, P. A. 1998. The ecology of developmental processes. In W. Damon & R. M. Lerner (Eds. ), Handbook of child psychology: Vol. 1. Theoretical models of human development (pp. 993-1028). New York: Wiley. Bronfenbrenner, Uri. 1979. The Ecology of Human Development: Experiments by Nature and Design. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University press.

.Bronfenbrenner, Uri. 1973. Two Worlds of Childhood: U. S. and U. S. S. R. New York: Simon & Schuster. Morgan, Clifford T. 1977. A Brief Introduction to Psychology. 2nd ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company. Plutchik, R. 1980. A general psychoevolutionary theory of emotion. In R. Plutchik & H. Kellerman (Eds. ), Emotion: Theory, research, and experience: Vol. 1. Theories of emotion (pp. 3-33). New York: Academic. The Holy Bible. 2001. New King James Version. Power BibleCD Online Publishing, Inc. 127 N. Matteson Street PO Box

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